'Travis Alert Bill' gaining local support - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

'Travis Alert Bill' gaining local support

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WAPATO, WA - A new bill proposed by Representative Gina McCabe of Goldendale is giving hope to the local family who inspired it. The 'Travis Alert Bill' received nearly unanimous support last month from the State House with a 96 to 1 vote, and passed in the House of Representatives yesterday.

The bill calls for required training for emergency responders to handle people with disabilities, the push for which came from Threasa and Darren King of Wapato, whose son Travis has autism.

"We need to be able to train our first responders not to be professionals at disabilities, but just to be able to understand and maybe be able to handle a situation that's going to happen in an emergency," says Threasa King.

Threasa says Travis is a 'runner', and after being found in an irrigation canal near their home, she knew emergency situations involving those like her son needed personnel with specific training.

Joey Wallberg, a volunteer firefighter for Terrace Heights who has two children himself with autism, is a huge advocate for this new training, which he has already started.

"I've had calls where I've had patients with autism," says Wallberg, "and being able to have that background and help them, and comfort the family members and go, 'hey, this person knows what they're doing, they're going to take care of my child', and it's been a good blessing."

The bill will also allow those with any kind of disability, or their family members, to submit information regarding their situation to an enhanced 911 system. This lets dispatchers give critical information to responders specific to that person in an emergency.

Travis King says he is happy about the new bill, because...

"...it helps us save lives like mine!"

The bill has gone from recognizing the need for aid for those with autism to the need to help those with all disabilities, and will now pass to the Senate for further consideration.

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